Lucas Carlsson scored with 1:12 remaining in the second overtime period as Charlotte staved off elimination with a 5-4 win over Lehigh Valley on Thursday night.
The finale of the teams’ best-of-three Atlantic Division first-round series is set for Friday night in Charlotte.
The Checkers got the winner off a scrambly sequence, with John Ludvig finding the puck behind the net and sending a pass out to Carlsson, who fired a shot from between the circles that beat Samuel Ersson. It was the second goal of the series for Carlsson, who tied for the AHL lead among defensemen with 20 goals in the regular season.
Regulation was a back-and-forth affair as the Phantoms erased a pair of two-goal deficits. Justin Sourdif and Calle Sjalin gave the Checkers an early 2-0 lead, but Artem Anisimov got Lehigh Valley on the board in the final minute of the first period and Olle Lycksell tied it up 40 seconds into the third.
Charlotte regained its two-goal cushion when Cory Conacher and Connor Bunnaman scored less than three minutes apart. But the Phantoms responded again, as Lycksell notched his second goal of the night with 7:57 left in regulation and Elliot Desnoyers made it 4-4 just 1:33 later.
Shots for the game were 50-42 in favor of Charlotte. Both teams registered 17 shots in the two overtime periods.
Mack Guzda turned aside 38 shots to pick up the win for the Checkers. Ersson finished with 45 saves for the Phantoms.
Atlantic Division First Round (best-of-3)
A3-Charlotte Checkers vs. A6-Lehigh Valley Phantoms
Game 1 – Tue., Apr. 18 – Lehigh Valley 4, CHARLOTTE 3 | Recap
Game 2 – Thu., Apr. 20 – CHARLOTTE 5, Lehigh Valley 4 (2OT)
Game 3 – Fri., Apr. 21 – Lehigh Valley at Charlotte, 7:00
*if necessary… All times Eastern